Faroese language

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Faroese[1] (føroyskt, pronounced [ˈføːɹɪst] or [ˈføːɹɪʂt]), is an Insular Nordic language spoken by 48,000 people in the Faroe Islands and about 25,000[citation needed] Faroese people in Denmark and elsewhere. It is one of four languages descended from the Old West Norse language spoken in the Middle Ages, the others being Icelandic, Norwegian and the extinct Norn, which is thought to have been mutually intelligible with Faroese.[citation needed] Faroese and Icelandic, its closest extant relative, are not mutually intelligible in speech, but the written languages resemble each other quite closely.[2]

Contents

History

Around AD 900 the language spoken in the Faroes was Old Norse, which Norwegian settlers had brought with them during the time of the landnám that began in AD 825. However, many of the settlers were not from present-day Norway but descendants of Norwegian settlers in the Irish Sea. In addition, native Norwegian settlers often married women from Norse Ireland, Orkney, or Shetland before settling in the Faroe Islands and Iceland. As a result, Celtic languages influenced both Faroese and Icelandic. There is some debatable evidence of Celtic language place names in the Faroes: for example Mykines and Stóra & Lítla Dímun have been hypothesized to contain Celtic roots. Other examples of early-introduced words of Celtic origin are; "blak/blaðak" (buttermilk) Irish bláthach; "drunnur" (tail-piece of an animal) Irish dronn; "grúkur" (head, headhair) Irish gruaig; "lámur" (hand, paw) Irish lámh; "tarvur" (bull) Irish tarbh; and "ærgi" (pasture in the outfield) Irish áirge.[3]

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